Let’s talk turkey! This year, serve up the roast turkey of your dreams…
How soon you should order your turkey depends where you do your shopping (see below). Think about where you’re going to store it once you’ve brought it home, and ideally leave it as close to Christmas as you can to collect it.
TIP If you buy frozen turkey, don’t then spend another couple of hours shopping – get it home and put it in the freezer as soon as possible.
A big, golden roasted turkey does make the Christmas table look fabulous, but it’s not always easy to prep and cook a huge bird. Plus it’s not cheap, so if something smaller suits you, don’t feel a duty to shop big!
TIP If you do choose a 9kg whopper, check you have room in your oven for it and anything else that needs roasting at the same time. You could remove and cook the drumsticks separately if that helps.
These days every celeb chef in the land has a different take on how to cook your turkey. Choose a recipe to suit your tastes and you never know, your turkey might just be the best dressed guest on Christmas Day!
TIP Many chefs recommend you take the turkey out of the fridge about an hour before you want to roast it but opinion varies, so follow the instructions that came with your bird.
Generally, roasting more slowly on a lower heat tends to get the best results: about 190°C (180°C fan-assisted), covering it with foil and removing it for the last 30-40 minutes to allow the skin to brown.
TIP Check that your oven is cooking at the temperature the dial says. Often older ovens aren’t! This is easy to check with an oven thermometer and if necessary you can then adjust your cooking time accordingly.
Cooking the stuffing in a separate dish in the oven is the most reliable way to cook it all safely through, but if you do want to add the stuffing to the bird only add the stuffing just before you’re going to cook the bird, not the night before.
Once it’s fully cooked, allow the turkey to stand, covered loosely with foil, for 30-40 minutes before carving. Then use a sharp knife to cut into the skin between the leg and the breast. Do this on both sides and with the wings. This makes it easier to carve the breast meat.
Allow the meat to cool then cover and put in the fridge within two hours of cooking. Use leftovers within two days and if you reheat the meat, ensure it’s steaming hot before eating. You should only reheat it once so it’s a good idea to just cook what you want, as you go. To freeze, take the meat off the bone first. Use it within a month. Ease the pressure on the big day and check out our tips for Get ahead Christmas cooking.